Girl Who Stole An Elephant, The
Author: Nizrana Farook
For Juniors/KS2
Price 6.99 paperback
Book(s) at 6.99 paperback
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Girl  Who Stole An Elephant, The In this whirlwind of an adventure story, Chaya, daughter of the village headman in the island kingdom of Serendib, is a daring, spirited girl who enjoys the challenge of stealing baubles from rich people to help poor villagers in great need, somewhat in the manner of a Robin Hood. Her audacity rebounds, however, when she steals the Queen's jewels and unwittingly implicates Neel, her best friend, who lets himself be arrested for the theft.. Chaya must form an alliance with Nour, the daughter of a rich merchant of Muslim faith, to rescue Neel from prison and only succeeds by desperate measures, before a getaway on the King's very own elephant. The three children flee into the jungle, taking turns to ride on Ananda, hoping to evade the soldiers searching for them. The authentic detail of village life, landscapes, palaces, Hindu temples and a tropical jungle settings draw on the author's Sri Lankan heritage. The children's contrasting characters introduce themes of friendship and loyalty, along with moments of humour as Chaya must learn to moderate her headstrong nature, value teamwork and develop powers of empathy, particularly with regard to Nour. The plot moves at a hectic pace, with short chapters and cliff-hanging endings, but its engagement with notions of privilege and poverty, fairness and injustice are dramatised in simple terms: an ideal read for - say - years 4 or 5.